Dean Jakovlevski: How can SeaQ enhance Seavus' internal communication?

Recently we launched our corporate Q&A platform SeaQ, so our colleague Dean Jakovlevski, Technical Lead at Microsoft Technologies division, will explain the idea behind this platform and how it will benefit all employees.

What is the main idea behind the SeaQ platform?

- Well, if we take in consideration a couple of facts about Seavus: 800 employees, 15 offices in 8 countries, 10 divisions with overlapping knowledge requirements, I would say that this diversification is Seavus' greatest asset, and its biggest bane. That is why communication is always through staff meetings, so, the main idea was based on these three questions

  • How can we better utilize this wealth of knowledge and experience?
  • How can we share it amongst ourselves in a way that is beneficial to all?
  • Can we somehow document it and reuse it?

SeaQ will try to provide an answer.

How did you come to the idea to develop SeaQ?

- The idea originated from the everyday work activities. The lack of communication within a large organization can lead to silos, tribal knowledge, inefficiencies, limits to growth, you name it. Best practices aren't always communicated. Docs live in different places. Links are lost. Results are untrackable. Inefficiencies abound - an average of 20 hours each month is lost looking for (the same) answers!

So what do we do at Seavus?

- Well, it depends. If we know a colleague that previously worked on a specific issue, we ask him. We ask our seniors on the project. We ask Google. Not necessarily in that order 😊. What if the problem is very specific to a domain or technology and even Google can't help us? Our safest bet is that one of the 800 employees has seen this particular issue and can help us resolve it. The problem is how to get to that person. One way is to ask around. However, this option is not so popular with most developers. :-) Another way is by using SeaQ.

How can SeaQ can help Seavus people better utilize their knowledge and expertise?

- SeaQ represents a corporate Q&A platform where users can post architectural, design or development questions, and the rest of the users can give answers to them. Anyone can participate and contribute with their answers. This platform, with the support of tech leads, should empower Seavus employees to share their knowledge and bring our communication to the next level.

Can you explain to us how SeaQ works when it comes to finding the correct persons to answer a question? How is the assignee chosen?

- As I said, SeaQ represents a corporate Q&A platform where users can post questions for different domains, and the rest of the employees can give answers to them. To make the usage easier, we made an integration with the Katami system. Katami is a system in which experts (employees) such as developers, testing engineers, business analysts, etc. provide information based on their level of expertise on various skills such as frameworks, libraries, technical and business domains, etc. Hence, based on this integration the employee who is using SeaQ in his profile can select topics of interest such us C#, .NET, iOS, PHP and so on. Besides these technical topics, the employee can select Human resources, Marketing or Logistic as topics as well if the question refers to these sectors. Before submitting the question, the employee must select a skill which is related to the previously selected topic. The question can be tagged for easier search.

- After submitting the question, based on the selected topic and skill the platform will receive a list of employees from Katami who are advanced in those technologies and an email message will be sent to those colleagues so they can help resolve the problem. But this doesn’t mean that only those who received email message should answer, everyone can participate in resolving the problem. I really hope that SeaQ will be used by all of us at Seavus and the developers who will be involved will be responsible for making this a reality. Using the latest technologies and methodologies for both front-end and back-end combined with gamification solutions, we created a communication tool that will make our time in the company even more pleasant and fun. Who wouldn't want to be a part of it? 😊

What are the main benefits of using SeaQ?

- Some of the benefits of SeaQ over other available online systems include:

  • connecting people by initiating conversations based on topics for which support is needed;
  • building a knowledge base for questions that are in the general interest;
  • building a knowledge base in a specific topic of interest (project or domain)
  • creating a place where people can express themselves in a forum-like space and build whitepapers from the tool for topics of interest;
  • exposing the company to a new light, thus proving it’s open nature for communication between the employees
  • the possibility of real-life rewards based on the platform's metrics, etc.

The platform is game-based, so can you explain to us a little bit more what that means for the users?

- A gamification and honor system are integrated within the platform to maximize the addiction factor and to provide a nice metric for real-life rewards. We have introduced badges which means each employee who participates on the SeaQ platform will earn a badge. We have more than 10 badges, for example: asked first question – Badge Student, answered first question – Badge Teacher, answer voted up more than 100 times – Badge Great Answer etc. Based on this we can provide a metric and there will be rewards for the most active employees and that’s why you should use the SeaQ platform! 😊

What are the new features that we can expect? / Do you have any new features in plan?

- Yes we have. There are a few features that we are working on: The first feature, Converzational ChatBot, will have experience with the implementation of an AI-driven bot; We will have the possibility to embed this into Teams, Skype, Kik and others. The bot will be another way for using the SeaQ platform. The users can write posts, comments, give answers etc.

Another feature is to extend the Forum space with Forum rooms, that is a knowledge base for project and non-project related topics. The users can create a forum room (private or public) where they can share knowledge and experience inside that group. For example: A forum room can be created for a project. And all project members can be invited to that group to participate and collaborate inside.

A particular feature that we will launch very soon is the Appraisal for the colleague - which provides the option for the user to "tap a colleague back" and write an appraisal for them.

At Seavus, we strongly believe that the people are our most valuable asset. We cultivate diversity and we value ambition and eagerness for knowledge, change, and challenge. Join us at SeaQ to share your knowledge and bring our communication to the next level.